Sagebrush Buttercups

Last weekend we decided to take advantage of the good weather that we’ve been having and we explored a new walking trail that we had not been to before.  (We also wanted to make good use of this short window of time that is not snowy, neither too cold nor too hot, and before the ticks and mosquitoes start to come out.)  The trail, which wound around the side of a hill overlooking a valley, ended up being far shorter than we had expected, so I don’t know if we’ll be returning, but on the top of the hill I was lucky enough to find these sagebrush buttercups blooming.  I found it difficult to get a good photo since the sunlight was so bright, but this one is not too bad:

Sagebrush Buttercups

I was happy to find these because, while we’ve had snowdrops and crocuses blooming in our garden for the last few weeks, these are the first wildflowers that I have seen this year.  Sagebrush buttercups (Ranunculus glaberrimus) are typically one of the earliest-blooming spring wildflowers.  They grow in dry forests or on sagebrush hillsides (hence the name).  They grow only during the spring, and by the time the hot summer temperatures arrive, their foliage has already died away for the year.  One thing I love about these flowers is how shiny their petals are (which you can see a bit of in the above photo).  I don’t why they’re like that – maybe the shiny petals help to attract bees and other pollinating insects?

What are the signs of spring in your part of the world?

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